The benefits of joining CANSCAIP can be found here.
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This ruling may seem somewhat unfair toward self-published creators, especially with today's improved self-publishing technology. Unfortunately, CANSCAIP lacks the resources to individually assess a candidate's work. Getting published by a recognized publisher or distributed by a recognized distributor is a reasonably objective benchmark of production and (especially) editorial quality.
Self-published creators are welcome to join as Friends of CANSCAIP.
There is an appropriate protocol for submitting a manuscript or artist's portfolio to a Canadian publisher. CANSCAIP Friends can access the area of our website that features many articles by children's book experts and published authors and illustrators about different aspects of Canadian children's publishing. Beginners in the field will also be interested in the "To Market, To Market" section of our newsletter where publishers advertise calls for manuscript and portfolio submissions.
CANSCAIP recommends the Get Published! Kit produced by The Canadian Children's Book Centre, which includes basic information about agents, cover letters, query letters, manuscript submissions and Canadian publishers currently accepting unsolicited manuscripts. The CCBC also has an illustrator's bank that is periodically reviewed by publishers. Visit the CCBC website at www.bookcentre.ca.
Hard. One publisher reports getting 2,000 unsolicited manuscripts a year. However, each year they only published an average of one or two first-time authors. Because the number of unsolicited manuscripts a publisher receives is higher in children's publishing, it is actually more difficult, from a statistical point of view, to get a children's book published than an adult book. However, there are always success stories. Also, even though children's publishers get more submissions, they are also more likely to publish a first-time or non-agented writer than other publishers are.
CANSCAIP’s Blue Pencil Mentorship Program offers evaluation of a manuscript or a series of illustrations (for a fee). It is also a good idea to check out writing or illustration classes in your area. Or form a critique group!
Generally, no. Publishers prefer to match up a text to an illustrator of their own choosing. For marketing reasons, they may prefer to pair a first-time author with a more established illustrator. Usually, an author sends a manuscript for consideration and an illustrator sends a portfolio of varied work that the publisher will have on file to consider when a new manuscript is chosen for publication.
If you are an illustrator or author, CANSCAIP has a pdf called What to Look for in Your Illustrator or Author Contract. This pdf booklet is free to Members and Friends.
Sample contracts and an information package can also be purchased from The Writer's Union of Canada.